Objective: To describe the interrelationships between books and toys in the home, parent-child interaction, and child development at 21 months among low-income Latino children.
Methods: Latino mother-infant dyads enrolled in a level 1 nursery and infants were followed to 21 months. The subjects consisted of the control group of a larger intervention study. At 6 and 18 months, the number of books and toys in the home and the frequency of reading aloud were measured by the StimQ. At 21 months, child cognitive and language development and parent-child interaction were assessed by the Bayley Mental Development Index (MDI), the Preschool Language Scale-3 (PLS-3), and the Caregiver-Child Interaction Rating Scale, respectively. Eligibility for early intervention (EI) services was determined on the basis of the MDI and PLS-3.
Results: Data were obtained for 46 (63.0%) of 73 at 21 months. In multiple regression analysis, books provided at 18 months predicted both cognition (semipartial correlation [sr] = .49, P= .001) and receptive language (sr = .37, P= .02), whereas toys provided at both 6 and 18 months predicted 21-month receptive language (sr = .40, P= .01; sr = .32, P= .047, respectively). Reading aloud by parents > or =4 days a week was associated with decreased EI eligibility (adjusted odds ratio = 0.16, 95% confidence interval 0.03-0.99).
Conclusions: Reading aloud and provision of toys are associated with better child cognitive and language development as well as with decreased likelihood of EI eligibility.